Page Impressions Ltd Blogcetera: BT must be desperate to turn to Phorm

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

BT must be desperate to turn to Phorm

BT all but confirmed that they are going to implement the Phorm service across their 4 million users. Phorm has developed a service to deliver targeted advertising based on user browsing habits by using deep packet inspection (see comment).  Phorm claims that the targeting system is entirely anonymous and the Information Commissioner seems to agree although he has advised BT that users should only "opt-in".

However, there is some doubt on the part of industry experts that the sort of targeting planned by Phorm can ever be anonymous.  So why is BT involved in this dodgy area of activity?  Both Talk Talk and Virgin walked away from trialling Phorm when the level of resistance became clear on the part of users and industry commentators and pressure groups.  Well the answer maybe in BT's recently released financial numbers and the income that Phorm is suggesting BT can make from implementing the service despite the "opt-in".  However, Iain Livingston will face the prospect of BT yielding the ISP number one spot in the UK if they sacrifice the delivery of a quality service for some dodgy incremental income.  There are many more ways of making incremental income without upsetting your user base.  Sadly BT is increasingly run by accountants who neither understand the technology or customers' needs it would seem. (Isn't that similar to what happened to our Banks!)

BT should be very careful or their financial worries could multiply with the addition of Phorm.  This is just targeted spam and we do not want it.  BT should heed that old saying - "All that glisters isn't gold!"

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